Individual milestones and important points in tough period for Grecians

Pierce Sweeney of Exeter City during the Sky Bet League 2 Match between Exeter City and Hartlepool U

Pierce Sweeney of Exeter City during the Sky Bet League 2 Match between Exeter City and Hartlepool United at St James Park, Exeter on 29 Jan 2022. Photo: Phil Mingo/PPAUK - Credit: Phil Mingo/PPAUK

It’s a new year and still the football rollercoaster hurtles on - with us all firmly strapped in and ready for the ride.  

It was a challenging December for Matt, as players and staff succumbed to Covid. Every couple of days, players reported positive tests, I think at one stage it was just Matt and three squad members training. Obviously, they then have to build back up to fitness and we follow very strict protocols around returning to play, with every aspect of their health being monitored.  

A few years ago, the Supporters’ Trust held a fundraising campaign to buy GPS heart monitors for the squad, and these have proved invaluable as we monitor their fitness, so if you supported that particular campaign – thank you from the bottom of our hearts! 

It was great to be back to winning ways with two cracking games against Scunthorpe and Walsall, and a, ahem, not such a cracking game which saw a nil-nil result against Hartlepool at SJP on Saturday, perhaps the less said about that one the better…  

We’re looking forward to seeing Sam Nombe back in action in the coming weeks; he made a guest appearance in the Heritage Lounge on Saturday, and although the MC may leave a little to be desired…the audience loved hearing from Sam whilst they were enjoying some top notch hospitality! 

There have been a few milestones over this month, the Scunthorpe game was Archie Collins’ 150th for the club – what an achievement, especially as he’s still just 22 years old – and he’s One of Our Own, spotted at a holiday club and recommended for the Academy when he was a youngster!  

And it was a big 250th appearance over six years at the club for Pierce Sweeney at the Hartlepool game. I mustn’t forget, another landmark event - it was the big 40 for manager Matt on Sunday, now where did I put that gift..?  

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Another milestone was 100 games for the women’s team captain Manfy Sharpe when she led the team out to their FA Cup fourth round game against West Brom Women. It was great to see Abbie Britton lacing up her boots and back on the pitch for the much-anticipated game.  

The crowd were fantastic, singing and cheering throughout the match, but it just wasn’t to be on this occasion, losing out on penalties – a heart-breaking way for the FA Cup run to end - but every single player and the coaching staff did the club proud, for what they did on Sunday and also how they’ve played for the whole season.  

It’s been a great start to a brilliant grassroots competition from our club sponsor Carpetright. Dubbed #WeWinYouWin, Carpetright will donate £500 to a south west sports club every time Exeter City wins.  

Have a look on our club website at www.exetercityfc.co.uk for information about how to join this particular magic carpet ride. We’re really fortunate to have such a fantastic sponsor who do that bit extra for our community as well as the amazing support they give both our men’s and women’s teams.  

With the stadium looking in the best shape ever and the groundworks for the new big screen now well underway it would be churlish not to mention the accolade sent from the EFL Playing Surfaces Committee rating the work that Chas and his team does to be well above average for our division.  

Our partner charity, Exeter City Community Trust is staging its half marathon weekend on the Quay in Exeter on February 12 and 13. The event will see more than 500 runners taking part over the weekend, all running along the paths beside the River Exe and through the glorious Riverside Valley Park. You can’t sign up, as the event’s a sell out – but come along, grab a coffee and cheer on the runners! 

So, it’s on to Swindon away this Saturday, it should be fantastic game – more than 1,000 fans have already snapped up tickets – Up the City! 

Archie Collins of Exeter City on the break during the Sky Bet League 2 Match between Exeter City and

Archie Collins of Exeter City on the break during the Sky Bet League 2 Match between Exeter City and Hartlepool United at St James Park, Exeter on 29 Jan 2022. Photo: Phil Mingo/PPAUK - Credit: Phil Mingo/PPAUK